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MDHHS director resigns

Governor won’t say whether she asked him to resign

By Judy Reed

Former MDHHS director Robert Gordon

In a surprise move, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon abruptly announced his resignation on Twitter last Friday. The announcement came the same day as the announcement about indoor dining being allowed to resume at 25 percent capacity on February 1.

“Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration,” Gordon tweeted. “It’s been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter.”

In a press conference on Monday, Governor Whitmer declined to answer questions by several reporters on whether she had asked for his resignation.

Gordon had implemented a three-week pause of indoor dining on Nov. 17, which turned into 75 days.

New MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel

Whitmer announced that Gordon will be replaced by Elizabeth Hertel, who had been serving as the MDHHS chief deputy director.

“Elizabeth Hertel has dedicated her career to protecting Michiganders public health, and she is uniquely prepared to lead MDHHS as we continue working together to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Whitmer said in press release announcing the change. “She has served across multiple administrations from both parties and knows how to bring people together to get things done.”

“As we work to ramp up distribution of the safe and effective COVID vaccine and end the pandemic, I am eager to work with Governor Whitmer and her administration to keep Michiganders safe and healthy,” said Hertel. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the department at this time. Michigan is faced with a crisis unlike any we have seen before, but our aggressive action against this virus is working. Let’s finish the job and end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.”

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